Malaysian wildcard rider Muhd Zaqhwan Zaidi (left) in action during the Supersport race at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday. He finished ninth. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/ The Star
SEPANG: Malaysian wildcard Muhd Zaqhwan Zaidi finished a creditable ninth in his Supersport class debut in the FIM Superbike World Championships at the Sepang International Circuit.
Competing for the SIC Racing Team, Zaghwan collected seven points to be placed 21st in the overall standings. Dutchman Michael van der Mark, who won the 14-lap race, leads the standings with 115 points after six races.
Starting from seventh on the grid, the 19-year-old Zaqhwan had a good start and maintained his position for two laps before falling to ninth on lap 3. At the half-way point, Zaqhwan fell to 12th before moving to eighth on lap 11 following a crash involving three riders.
Riding a Honda CBR600RR, Zaqhwan was overtaken by American Patrick Jacobsen in the penultimate lap and had to settle for ninth place.
Zaqhwan was thrilled with the result.
“We did not expect to finish in the top 10 as this is a world championship-level race. But I was eager to gauge my capabilities against these world-class riders.
“I must thank the team for preparing a good bike for the race,” said Zaqhwan, the current Petronas Malaysian Cub Prix championship leader.
“I aim to use this priceless experience to help me in the Malaysian Cub Prix and Asia Road Racing Championship,” said Zaqhwan.